What has made Leila such a famous name in Sweden is her dedication to the traditional food of the country. Though she has explored foods from all corners of the globe (she was preparing for a visit to Morocco as we spoke), a passion for Swedish home cooking is at the core of what she does.
Through giant mouthfuls of cinnamon bun, we ask Leila her trick for making them so perfect: “A lot of cardamom is an absolute must for me. And I take them out of the oven before they are fully baked, so they are very soft.” —The Curious Pear
approximately 18 buns
- For the dough:
(1/2 pint) milk
(1 packet) fast-action dried yeast
unsalted butter, softened
fine sea salt
660 to 720 grams
- For the cinnamon filling:
unsalted butter, softed
Beaten egg, for brushing
Golden syrup and water, for brushing
Ground cardadmom, for sprinkling
Superfine sugar, for sprinkling
- Open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder until fine.
- Pour the milk into a pan. Add the cardamom and gently heat until around 115° F (45° C).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, briefly mix sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and egg. Don’t worry if the butter is still a bit lumpy.
- Add the milk and cardamom, mix briefly, and add most of the flour.
- In a stand mixer, use the dough hook and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is glossy, smooth, and soft. (Alternatively, knead by hand for 5 minutes.) The dough should be a little sticky: Don’t add too much flour at once, as you don’t want to end up with a dry or hard dough.
- Cover the bowl with the tea-towel and leave the dough to proof until doubled in size.
- In the meantime, make the filling: Mix all three ingredients until well combined and smooth.
- Once the dough is well risen, tip it onto a floured work surface and divide it in two.
- Roll half the dough into a large rectangle and spread half the filling on top, covering the whole rectangle.
- Fold the dough into three like a business letter (fold the top long side down to the middle, then fold the bottom long side over the top).
- Cut the dough into 3/4-inch (2-centimeter) strips, then cut every strip down the middle, leaving one end intact (so they look like a pair of trousers). Twist the two “legs” into a knot (this does not have to be very precise, you can go a bit freeform).
- Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise until almost doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough and filling.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C). Brush the buns with lightly beaten egg and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.
- Brush the still-warm buns with golden syrup mixed with water and sprinkle with ground cardamom mixed with superfine sugar.
Best friends Issy and Meg have spent the last decade sitting across tables from each other, travelling the world knife and fork in hand. Photographing bowls of steaming noodles, exotic street food and some of the world’s most exciting cooks, Issy makes up the photography side of the duo, while Meg records each bite in words. Considering their equal obsession for food and each other, it was inevitable that the two would eventually combine to become The Curious Pear, intent on bringing you reviews, food features and interviews with the culinary crowd, as well as pieces on their favourite eating spots from around the world. The Curious Pear are the contributing Food Editors at SUITCASE Magazine, bringing you a weekly food column at suitcasemag.com, as well as contributing for Time Out, Food52, Life & Thyme, Trends on Trends, Guest of a Guest and more!